I mentioned in my post about planning Alia’s 1st birthday that the only birthday celebrations that I’ve been to whilst living in Jordan are the ones that I hold for Atef and another 1st birthday. This 1st birthday is one that I’m very much not wanting to replicate for Alia’s 1st birthday.
To help you understand why, I need to provide you with a little bit of background of cultural practices to give you some context. The hours that Jordanians keep are very different from what I’m used to and what I do with Alia. Bedtime for children doesn’t happen much before 10pm. It’s not uncommon to see children still up at 11pm. School age children on school nights might go to bed at 9pm but rarely earlier than this even though school starts at 7:30am meaning that they are up around 6:30am. It is always met with utter disbelief when Jordanians learn that I put Alia to bed at 6:30pm every night and that she sleeps through to 8:00am. Just like they don’t understand me putting Alia to bed way too early I don’t understand why they let their children stay up way too late. They claim that their children aren’t tired and wont sleep any earlier but for me it’s really a case of their children being so overtired and wound up (which doesn’t make for very pleasant children!) that of course they wont sleep until eventually they just crash.
Asides from the winter months 9pm is a normal time for Jordanians to go visiting people. Atef’s family used to visit at 9pm when we first moved into our new house, but have learnt that firstly Alia is never awake so they don’t see her and secondly I’m not good company past 9pm!
So now that you have that information in mind I will describe the 1st birthday. Atef and I were there around 7:00pm. I had Alia in her bassinet as she was tired and it was past her bedtime. The rest of the guests turned up at 9pm. There were 15 kids under the age of 7 with 10 of them being under 4. The kids were overtired, whinging, very loud (I might use the word feral!) and and the situation didn’t improve at all when they were all given cakes, lollies and soft drink to hype them up even more. The level of loudness increased 10 fold and the kids were bouncing off the walls. The birthday boy had a complete meltdown. At 9:20pm with Alia having her own meltdown (and me on the verge of having one!) I found Atef and said that we were leaving, to which none of the other guests could understand why we would be going home to put Alia to bed!
Needless to say I’m having Alia’s 1st birthday at 3:30 in the afternoon. The guests will be gone by 5:30 and Alia will be in bed by 6:30pm! For my sanity!